What Not To Do When Starting A New Business

04 January 2012

Here are some things that I have learned in the last couple of weeks about what not to do when starting a business at home.  Many of these things are lessons in how-not-to-waste-time. If I wanted to sound like an annoying bureaucratic paper pusher, I would have titled the post "Time Management Tips." But being 'that guy' was the reason I quit my job to stay at home with the sweetest baby ever. 

Speaking of CT, if you have a little one at home while starting your business, you know full well the importance of bringing your A-game when sitting down to work.  I have about 3 hours a day that I can count on to get work done, while not playing, cuddling, reading board books, singing songs, and all of the other awesome things I get to do all day (that are unfortunately not at all productive for the shop).

I am by no means an expert, but on that note, who is?

1. Do not turn on the TV.  TVs follow Newton's 1st Law of Motion; the rough (and pertinent) translation of which is, "A TV that is on will stay on, while a TV that is off will stay off unless acted upon by an outside force (an evil force that knows the How I Met Your Mother rerun schedule)."

2. Do not get on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or any other form of social media that you think will help promote your business.  It will not help you as much as it will set you back a couple of hours.  Wait until you have no other pressing items on the to-do list (not sure when that is, but I am sure that will happen someday). 

3. Do not count on nap time alone.  This applies even if you are not starting your business with a child at home.  Do not limit the time you have to work in the day.  You will always need more time in the beginning.  Have a plan to have extra time to work, whether it is with the baby at your feet, or get help from someone else with certain tasks.

4. Do not expect to accomplish it all.  Part of the reason it took so long to start the Whitehall Shop is because I couldn't figure out exactly what I wanted to do.  I loved making so many things, and had trouble narrowing it down.  But narrowing it down is key when starting out.  The more you can consolidate your materials, the easier your start up will be, and the more you narrow your focus, the faster your skill will grow.  It is better to be the master than the jack of all trades on this one (though I generally subscribe to being a jack of all trades in life). 

5. Do not forget why you started.  It is hard work, and not immediately rewarding.  But perseverance will pay off.  This is my reason:

There are plenty of lessons I still have to learn.  I will share them as I go.  What lessons have you learned, and what was your motivation in starting your business?
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